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久しぶり・・・

久しぶり・・・

Oh, I’m ashamed to see how long it has been since I last posted something… I just can’t do the blogging thing it seems. In case anyone wants to see me more active, follow me on Goodreads!

I have been reading a lot – this year’s goal is 52 books again – but not buying a lot. But still, here’s my haul for this year’s Deventer Book Market (that was August… oops).

Book haul
I’m very pleased! All books except the graphic novels are in Dutch. This would bother me before, but I’ve gotten more used to reading in Dutch and the translations are usually just as good (and often better) than their English counterparts. And then there’s Arthur Japin, a Dutch author I really like, and Alle Verhalen is actually signed! Yay!

I also admittedly got a lot of new Japanese literature in May when our library (by which I mean, where I work) held a big sale. Amazing haul that was, but no photos.

But after that, I’ve behaved. I moved, started my new job, got new pets, and all of that has been eating my time, so I will blame the lack of blogging on that.

From here on…
For the Japanese Literature Challenge 7, which I only found out about today (that’s how inactive I’ve been online!) thanks to Tony, I will be posting reviews of some of the Japanese literature I read since May (that’s how long the challenge has been around! For shame, self, for shame!).

In December and January I will report in detail on my experience reading Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Why in such detail, you ask? The Dutch edition of the book is published in January. The publisher and a Dutch literary magazine, Das Mag, are holding a large Murakami Festival in Amsterdam on January 11th to celebrate this fact. The festival is basically one big book club on 15 different locations in Amsterdam, pretty cool if you ask me! Clearly I’ve got tickets. Another plus side: attendees will receive the book one month before its publication date. So there!

Reading in 2013…

Reading in 2013…

When it comes to books, I first and foremost want to just enjoy them. So I don’t want to set too many goals and join too many challenges for 2013.

I do have one big goal: try not to buy books and instead read what’s already on my book shelves.

I am joining a few challenges that can be found here. Firstly, the TBR Pile Challenge, which speaks for itself. The goal is to read 12 already determined books from your TBR-shelf.

Secondly, inspired by my job, I want to focus my reading on literature from East Asia. I suspect I will read mostly Japanese literature, but I realised I have a few Korean and Chinese authors on my book shelf that I also finally want to give a try. Anyway, I am joining Tony’s January in Japan, followed by hopefully Japanese Literature Challenge 7. I haven’t decided what I will read for these challenges yet.

Then of course I will be continuing with my ongoing challenges: the Classics Club Challenge and my Murakami challenge (which combines nicely with the J-Lit challenges!).

Finally, I have also set a new Goodreads reading goal:

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Carola has
read 0 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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In the past year, despite being busy, I read 57 books. I notice this is mostly because I don’t spend as much time on the internet anymore. Despite foreseeing another busy (even chaotic?) year, I don’t doubt I will stick to reading. I think I’ll be able to make it to 52 books again this year!

Let’s see how all of this goes! For now, I have kicked off the year with Chiyo Uno’s Confessions of Love. Uno is a very fascinating author and so far I love the book. Will write more about it later I’m sure!

Read in September, reading in October

Read in September, reading in October

brilliant monthsThe month is coming to an end (I could have sworn September had another week, but no). I finished another five books this month:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami ★★★★☆
  • Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner ★★☆☆☆
  • The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ★★★★☆
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente ★★★★☆
  • De Duivenhoudsters (The Dovekeepers) by Alice Hoffman ★★★★★

De Duivenhoudsters (The Dovekeepers)I was extremely happy to finish 1Q84 (review here) and to finally read The Prisoner of Heaven (review here). Both were pretty darn good, but not perfect. Also far from perfect was Theories of International Politis and Zombies. I simply had to read it when I found it at my (academic) library, but it was a huge disappointment. I think the author either should have focussed more on fiction or take the whole ‘omg zombies’ joke to the next level. Not worth reading, really. The biggest surprise of the month was The Dovekeepers, a book I won by filling out a form at Manuscripta (along with a meet & greet with Alice Hoffman that is still to come). Winning came as a surprise as I had forgotten I had even entered, so I had virtually no expectations of the book. But the book is beautiful (and since I read it in Dutch: many kudos to the translators!). I might write a decent review in the future, but for now I can simply recommend it to everyone.

The Casual VacancyI started reading Catch-22. I enjoyed it for the first few pages, but as it is basically the same joke repeated page after page I got tired of it really quickly and for me it stops being funny when I read too many pages a day… This book doesn’t really have my priority for October.

I’m starting an internship and along with everything else this means working 5 days a week for the upcoming half year, so I have no idea how much reading I will get done in October. My main priorities are finishing The Casual Vacancy and reading for the Literary Others event (excited!). I started Giovanni’s Room slightly ahead of time, haha.

Read in August, reading in September

Read in August, reading in September

brilliant monthsI like the idea of posting monthly updates on what I’m reading. I don’t think I’ll ever become a decent reviewer, but I enjoy talking about what I have read and what I plan to read.

In August, I read the following books:

  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters ★★★★☆
  • Candide by Voltaire ★★★☆☆
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green ★★★☆☆
  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen ★★★☆☆
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve ★★★★☆
  • Het Geheim van de klokkenmaker, of, De Tijd zal het leren of De Tijd zal je leren by Tonke Dragt ★★★☆☆

I ended up reading two short books for the Classics Club challenge: Candide and Lady Susan. The first was a bit of a disappointment as for some reason my expectations were much higher. The further I got in the story the more I started to appreciate it though. As for Lady Susan, it was really refreshing to read something by Jane Austen again! I am very eager to pick up one of her other books now. This one may not have been the best, but the main reason I only rated it 3 out of 5 stars is the ending. The writing itself and the concept of the letters I really enjoyed!

For September, my main reading goal is to finally finish Murakami’s 1Q84. I had to check, and I started reading this book in December last year! Ouch… Don’t get me wrong though, I really enjoy this book. But it’s just a deceivingly slow read (in style with the content, perhaps?), and it’s an easy book to put aside for a little while to pick up another book.

Another goal is to start and finish the last ‘summer read’ of my book club, Sparrow & Nightingale. We picked a few books in different genres: And Then There Were None, Mortal Engines, Een Schitterend Gebrek, 1Q84 (which is going to be more than a summer read for most) and finally the book I still have to start: Catch-22.

Besides these two books, I have nothing special planned out. I have plenty of books on my shelf that are just begging me to be read, so let’s see what comes my way!